back to article Don't make an iOS of yourself – Apple's patched its OSes, you know the drill

Apple has updated its operating systems for the Mac, iPhone, iPad, Watch and TV boxen, correcting dozens of security issues along the way. Full details of Apple's bugs aren't available at the time of writing, but plenty of them sound more than worthy of rapid remediation. CVE-2021-30986, for example, means a device running …

  1. jake Silver badge

    "lets iThing owners designate someone who can access their data after they die."

    Take note that if Apple can allow "someone" to access your stuff after you are dead, Apple can also obey a court order to allow that same access while you are alive.

    Not that I think any ElReg comentards are doing anything illegal, immoral or fattening with their computers, of course.

    1. Admiral Grace Hopper

      Not these days. I simply don't have the energy any more.

    2. Stuart Castle Silver badge

      "Take note that if Apple can allow "someone" to access your stuff after you are dead, Apple can also obey a court order to allow that same access while you are alive."

      Not necessarily. Any new keys would need to be generated by a device or person with the original key. I'm no encryption expert, but you would need to be able to decrypt the data to generate a new key. If encryption didn't work that way, you'd be able to generate a key for any encrypted data you saw.

      Now, there is nothing physically stopping Apple generating their own key at the time the user's key is generated and using that later, but I think if Apple did that, there are enough experienced hackers who *hate* apple, it would be discovered and leaked onto websites all over the world before Apple's lawyers even got started.

      Not saying Apple wouldn't do that, but if they did, they run the risk of losing a *lot* of sales and like any good capitalist entity, they exist to make money.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Take note that if Apple can allow "someone" to access your stuff after you are dead, Apple can also obey a court order to allow that same access while you are alive.

      Only the data stored in the iCloud, but if the user has been paranoid enough to not use the iCloud keychain (already assuming that Apple has acces to it, which it may have engineered itself out of for liability reasons) you're out of luck if you don't have the device pin or can somehow replicate the access biometrics because the encrypted containers it creates are quite impressive.

      This is because the actual encryption key to the container is *big* - the password or biometrics only unlock the key that then opens the container. Quite good engineering, but rather unhelpful if you're trying to gather evidence to prove a crime..

  2. cawfee
    Thumb Up

    Digital Legacy

    For those interested in the details - it requires your *designated* contact to have two things:

    1) An access key that is generated when you choose the contact (you are able to choose more than one). - presumably this is protecting your data.

    2) Your death certificate.

    The data is limited to iCloud stored data, and includes:

    photos, notes, mail, contacts, calendars, reminders, iMessages, call history, iCloud Drive files, health data, voice memos, safari bookmarks/reading list, and your iCloud backups.


    Licenced media, in-app purchases, payment info/apple pay, iCloud Keychain (inc. passwords).

    You can choose to text message your designated user(s) a code, or print a copy to include in your estate documents. It *does not* require the user to have an iOS/MacOS device.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Digital Legacy

      "2) Your death certificate."

      Or a court order.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Digital Legacy

        Depends on the jurisdiction.

        1. Anonymous Coward

          Re: Digital Legacy

          Yes, some jurisdiction will ensure there is a death certificate, it required....

      2. Solviva

        Re: Digital Legacy

        If you need a court order, then it's likely you haven't been trusted with access to the first item.

        I assume there's a process to rescind item 1 less the once-trusted ex-husband/wife/thing holds onto it forever and a day...

      3. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: Digital Legacy

        Still not going to help without the key…

      4. doublelayer Silver badge

        Re: Digital Legacy

        You're factually correct here but it doesn't matter. Apple is completely capable of getting law enforcement access to this data (the key is not an encryption key). However, this isn't new because the data it gives access to is that stored in iCloud. They already give this out if there's a court order. So this neither increases nor decreases the amount of data available or the effort to get at it. Situation unchanged.

      5. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

        Re: Digital Legacy

        No Jake.

        Like practically all US trading entities, Apple will comply with any legitimate legal directive and will supply information pertinent to that directive. This has nothing whatsoever to do with Digital Legacy.

    2. Jim Mitchell

      Re: Digital Legacy

      "2) Your death certificate."

      This means I can't just roll up to to 1 Infinity Way with a body in a wheelbarrow and their iPhone and get access? Bummer.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Excluded: Licenced media" etc.

      Why? I could inherit all my father physical licensed media - LPs, CD-ROMs, books, etc. etc. Is there anywhere in the those licenses that they are bound to the lifetime of the owner?

      1. Tessier-Ashpool

        Re: "Excluded: Licenced media" etc.

        "Is there anywhere in the those licenses that they are bound to the lifetime of the owner?"

        Yes. To take the example of movies purchased via iTunes, the rights owner of the movie grants a sub-license to Apple, which is transferred to the *purchaser* when they "buy" a movie. The purchaser has no right to transfer that license to another party.

        But... it's worse than that. If the rights owner removes said movie from the iTunes Store, Apple are obliged to withdraw said sub-license from the purchaser. It doesn't happen that often, but your purchased iTunes movie can be disappeared. Nice.

        This is sufficiently aggravating that a court case is ongoing, disputing the use of the word "Buy". I, like many others, do not consider a movie to be "bought" if it can be arbitrarily removed from the user's movie library.

        1. J. Cook Silver badge

          Re: "Excluded: Licenced media" etc.

          ... which is why music I purchase gets copied off the machine and put somewhere else, possibly being transcoded along the way into a non-DRM format.

          See also Amazon (infamously) disappearing copies of "1984" from people's devices without their knowledge or consent.

          1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

            Re: "Excluded: Licenced media" etc.

            As far as I'm aware, Apple haven't 'disappeared' anything from users' devices, and haven't withdrawn any rights to view. What they DO say might happen is that if a rights owner withdraws a movie from the iTunes Store, it might not be available for redownload at some time in the future (so make sure you have a digital copy somewhere and you will be fine), and also that if you move your AppleID from one region to another, you might not be able to access the same movies on iTunes due to region licensing issues. This is a studio region licensing issue, totally f*cked up in my view, but also not Apple's fault.

            I had exactly the same thing when I moved from the US to Europe; all my movies "disappeared" and I thought they'd been deleted (as did the Apple support guy, was the first time he'd seen it happen) but we figured out it was region licensing, I switched my ID temporarily back to US and they all became visible again. I downloaded them and put them on a hard drive, then moved my ID to Europe again. Yes switching between regions is a pain, but it was no different to my DVD player at the time; my US movies wouldn't play on my new European player, so for a while I had two players stacked on top of each other and switched between them.

            Note that the 2018 da Silva case (guy was all over the Internet claiming his movies had been deleted) wasn't a case of Apple deleting stuff as he claimed, it was the fact that he'd moved from Australia to Canada, and had transferred his AppleID across locations; which meant that he was not able to (re)download them from the new location which had different licensing laws. What's important here is that if he had set his ID back to Australia, all his movies became available again. I'm not saying he was lying, but he was certainly being economical with the truth when accusing Apple of "deleting" his movies. They didn't.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: "Excluded: Licenced media" etc.

              I had "bought" the remastered version of Le Voyage dans la Lune de Melies, a movie that came with a Daft Punk album. Is is no longer available to download, and it is no longer in any of my libraries.

        2. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. TRT Silver badge

        Re: "Excluded: Licenced media" etc.

        Ask Bruce Willis. I'm sure he would agree with you.

  3. Gene Cash Silver badge

    SOS call?

    The keypress to make an SOS call has been simplified (but also overlaps with the screenshot keypress).

    I'm not an Apple owner. What is an SOS call? Is it a shortcut to an emergency call to something like 911 in the US? Or is it something like the latest Android crap where you hit the power button and there's an "Emergency" item? (I tried it, and it popped up a menu item to call 911, but didn't actually call it)

    And what does "overlaps with the screenshot keypress" mean? Is there now a possibility to accidentally call emergency when you wanted a screenshot? Or does it make using screenshots more of a pain in the ass with more steps?

    1. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: SOS call?

      It calls the emergency service if possible, and you can also specify some emergency contacts who will get an automatic message that you have used it, including your location. This feature is a little annoying if you don't know it's there, as there are only two options: call it immediately if the trigger happens or give you a window where you can cancel the call but you don't have long. Inadvertent activation is quite possible (especially for newer iPhones where you have to simultaneously press two buttons which are on opposite sides of the phone). Perhaps they have now made that even easier to accidentally do.

    2. katrinab Silver badge

      Re: SOS call?

      SOS is not an Apple term, it comes from the Morse Code days, when . . . _ _ _ . . . or SOS, was the distress signal, and is sometimes used to describe a call to 911/112/999 or whatever the number is in your country.

  4. AceGrace

    Does this fix the memory leak with the mouse bug?

  5. Dinanziame Silver badge

    I thought the dying words of everybody to their closest friend was to make sure to delete their browser history and/or incinerate their computer...?

    1. David 132 Silver badge

      Frankly, I plan for my last words(*) to be something along the lines of "...and please look after my bullion and artwork, it's all stored at... *gack* *splutter* *gurgle*"

      (*- assuming my actual last words aren't something along the lines of "don't be daft, you don't get poisonous snakes around here, of course I can pick it u.....")

  6. sreynolds

    Lots of companies are doing this...

    I notice that even google gives you a right to expire. Mind you that's only for accounts that you have from them from which they are not making any money from by fleecing your data.

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